Iowa State will close out the football season in the same way it began, with a game against Tulsa. The Cyclones and Golden Hurricane will meet in the December 31st Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads says the reward of college football is the postseason and he says his team was “elated beyond words for this opportunity.” He says Tulsa is a team that has won 10 games and is a conference champion and to be playing football in December is very exciting for his team.
The Cyclones had to wait through a day of uncertainty before getting the official word, and Rhoads says that was the hardest part of it all. The rematch was assured after Northern Illinois gained a spot in the Orange Bowl, knocking Oklahoma out of a BCS.
All of the Big-12 bowls passed on the Cyclones who went the at-large route to get a bid. ISU athletic director Jamie Pollard says he first spoke with Liberty Bowl executive director Steve Erhardt a week ago.
He says they knew there was the potential to have the Liberty Bowl available with their SEC tie ins and he says they worked hard to lobby the bowl members. Pollard says they were hoping to land in the Liberty Bowl if they were passed over by the Big-12 bowls.
“It’s got a great history being the seventh oldest bowl, that we have a history with them, that it’s played on December 31st, that it’s played on national TV,” Pollard says. He says fans can drive to the bowl and it is affordable and they expect a huge turnout.
Rhoads informed his team Sunday night about the bid. Iowa State beat Tulsa 38-23 in Ames back on September first. The Golden Hurricane are 10-3 after beating Central Florida in overtime in the Conference-USA title game. The Cyclones are 6-6 and last played in the Liberty Bowl 40 years ago.